Monday, 10 February 2003
JSU Meteorology Program PDAS RAP and the Microburst Study Project
Microburst occurrences are often reported as thunderstorm wind damage and thunderstorm wind damage reports to the Storm Prediction Center now total nearly 10,000 per year. Although the general nature of microburst occurrence and properties may be predicted through dynamic reasoning, the particular characteristics of their occurrence, and their metrics, is not well-known or predicted. In fact the conceptual models used in explaining their occurrence and behavior are unreliable. This is partly due to microphysical contributions and a lack of complete understanding of the thermodynamic environment that leads to their occurrence rather than tornadoes, straight line winds, or large hail. In an effort to ameliorate this lack of knowledge and forecast ability, a study will focus on microbursts occurring within the CWA of the JAN, MOB, and BHM NWS offices during the period 15 May through 15 September 2002. In addition 1990-2001 warm season (JJA) microburst reports collected by the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) for the Southeast United States (MS, AL, GA, SC, FL) were analyzed to identify microburst families. This project will be organized by and through the Jackson State University Meteorology Program (JSU MP) as part of the on-going PDAS-RAP NOAA grant project. Additional support was provided by NOAA through the Oakridge Institute for Science Education (ORISE). The objectives of the study are to (1) determine the characteristics of microbursts (i.e., duration, intensity, scale/size, and storm scale features or characteristics); (2) examine the holistic pattern of their occurrence (i.e., isolated, scattered, widespread, or evolving self-organizing); (3) understand the pre-existing environment (0-12 and 12-24 hours) in which microbursts form so as to test and further develop forecasting checklists for prediction; and (4) to develop a climatology of the observed characteristics and features of the microburst family of occurrences as a function of synoptic and mesoscale conditions.